How do brands cater to customers’ need for fresh & quality produce

How do brands cater to customers’ need for fresh & quality produce

Among the sea of emerging brands catering to similar sectors, excellent quality makes the customer choose a particular brand. This landscape of endless competition has pushed brands to continuously innovate and present customers with more choices in price, quality and convenience. When it comes to the eGrocery sector, customers are becoming increasingly health-conscious and inclined towards receiving fresh and excellent quality produce.

The pandemic triggered the growth and adoption of eCommerce platforms as the medium of choice for all consumer requirements, particularly groceries. This led to the rapid advancement and steady expansion of eCommerce platforms in the past few years. Owing to their convenience and seamless consumer experience, eCommerce platforms have become a favorable choice as it eliminates the requirement to physically move out for shopping needs. What was once a reluctant shopping option as customers felt the need to touch and feel the product, eCommerce has made an agile growth, particularly in the green grocery segment.

In India, hyperlocal shopkeepers have a presence in every nook and cranny in cities and villages. Buying produce from a local vendor has always been a reassuring experience for consumers as they can pick and choose what they need by being physically present, thereby guaranteeing the best fruits and vegetables. For online grocers to succeed amidst local competition and emerge as the preferred grocer, they had to establish trust and reliability with customers. By forging a strong relationship with customers by means of offering quality products, at a fast pace in a seamless experience, eGrocery platforms have made inroads in the eCommerce space. They have adopted the express delivery model, which ensures short storage time; thus ascertaining the produce remains as fresh as possible. The entire operations/supply chains operate under tight processes and turnaround times. For eCommerce platforms to succeed, a well-designed logistics strategy is necessary to ensure minimum time from farm-to-fork.

As the pursuit for direct farm-to-fork delivery grows, supply chains are becoming speedily responsive, finely controlled, and more efficient to provide the best experience to customers. Technology and proficiency in logistics are required to accomplish and deliver the promise of freshness. Online ordering systems are being continually simplified at the point of sales to make the shopping experience simple and quick. Subsequently, some players adopt systematic omni-channel approaches for order fulfillment to complete orders efficiently. The adeptness of the supply chain can either make or break the brand in modern online grocery retail.

Moreover, storage times are being considerably reduced, in some cases storage times are eliminated wherever possible to maintain the freshness of produce. Hence, various methods are implemented to safeguard quality further. For instance, hyperlocal dark stores (which are fulfillment centers in places of high demand) serve to deliver items to consumers quickly, increasing the efficiency of inventory management. Dark stores are used as storage and collection centers for local deliveries. The internal processes allow quick turnaround times as orders are packed at the store as soon as the customer has placed an order.

Additionally, some players adopt “one-touch delivery model” and thorough quality checks, to ensure customers safe and hygienic products. The one-touch delivery model is a mechanism wherein there is minimal handling of the produce, thus keeping it free from contamination if it was handled multiple times.

Data has become an essential part of running any business to support the accelerated growth and expansion of eCommerce platforms. Today, green grocers collect a vast amount of data through their transactions and artificial intelligence algorithms, allowing them to analyze various products' demand. This helps in forecasting with a good accuracy, thus stocking up optimally and reducing inventory wastage. Hence, online green grocers are aggressively pursuing mechanisms to deliver the freshest produce as a point of differentiation. Online grocers have redefined the way people shop for fruits and vegetables as an aim to make people recognize that online shopping is the way forward. Advances in AI, building robust supply chains and introducing new techniques and strategies to deliver quality and freshness will soon determine customer loyalty and frequency of ordering. In conclusion, customer retention is assured once customers are sure that they can rely on the platform for good quality produce, value for money and express delivery.

Atul Kumar, co-founder and chief executive officer, Fraazo

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